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Archive for December, 2021

I really wanted to class-up these lovely little single-bite gingerbread cakes, so I called them Petit Fours, if it’s not a celebration you want to serve them at, just call them two-bite Gingerbread Cakes. They are warmly spiced, light, somewhat chewy, little gingerbread cakes with a slightly crispy exterior which makes them perfect for ganache. They are always a hit. I made them for a few dinners over the holidays because the meals are always so filling, it’s nice to have a little something to choose one or four of (see what I did there?)!

Gingerbread Petit Fours

Makes about 36 mini muffins-sized cakes

Ingredients:

  • 37 g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 125 g all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 75 mL boiling water
  • 4 g baking powder
  • 1 g ground ginger
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 72 g dark-brown sugar
  • 25 g egg
  • 80 mL un-sulfured molasses
  • 9 g finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 pieces crystallized ginger, thinly sliced lengthwise, for garnish
  • Chocolate Ganache

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a mini 12-cup muffin pan, tapping out excess flour; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and boiling water; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, and beat until combined. Add molasses, fresh ginger, and reserved baking soda mixture; beat until combined. (The batter will look curdled but will come together once the flour is added.) Add the flour mixture, and beat until well combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating pan halfway through until a cake tester inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean, about 10-11 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack to cool completely.
  4. Set rack over a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of Chocolate Ganache over each cake, letting some drip down the sides. Garnish with a couple of strips of crystallized ginger. Once glazed, cakes can refrigerated, in air-tight containers, for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Adding a little silver ball on top really classes them up.

Notes:

  • You can visit the original recipe here, it makes 12 regular-sized muffin cup cakes.
  • These cakes absolutely require the buttering and flouring the pans, without this step, the cakes will stick. I was lazy about 2 months ago and only sprayed the pans and they stuck.
  • Seriously only add enough batter to fill half of the mini muffin cups, they will rise beautifully. You don’t want them overflowing on the top of the muffin pan because they will stick.
  • These little cakes freeze well before you cover them in Ganache.

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Back in the 80’s, when I was first dating JT, his parents would occasionally invite me to dinner at their home. JT’s Mom didn’t love cooking but she really made an effort. She focussed on areas she could master, like soups, salads, and pies (she made awesome pies). She let the experts deal with the proteins for the most part and one of her favourite proteins was, Chicken Cordon Bleu. She had her local butcher make up these delicious little parcels and she just popped them into the oven and baked them. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about these bundles until about a year ago when I was really trying to make our meals more of an event, since we weren’t doing much else (thanks Covid). They didn’t disappoint!

I created a very easy way to parcel the chicken breasts with the ham and cheese so they would stay together. I didn’t bother putting the little chicken crown over my version but it was still beautiful and delicious.

The trick is to even out the chicken thickness by pounding with a flat pounder, I like to put the chicken into a zip lock bag so that it doesn’t splatter when I’m pounding it. You don’t want it too thin but you do want it even. You can pound it thinner and roll the ham and cheese but I’ve always found that the cheese eventually melts out so I make a pocket the length of the breast without cutting through and stuff the ham and cheese into the pocket. I use a metal skewer to hold the opening shut which will be removed just before slicing.

Flash-back to the 80’s Chicken Cordon Bleu!

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Serves 2 (ingredients may be doubled or tripled easily)

Ingredients:

  • 1 @ 200 g (or 2 @ 100 g) chicken breast, deboned and skinned
  • 100 g Gruyère, grated
  • 1-2 slices of Serano ham
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 80 g AP Unbleached Flour
  • 15 g granulated garlic
  • 15 g dehydrated onion
  • 100 g panko
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place the panko, granulated garlic, onion, and salt into a spice grinder and pulse until it is relatively fine. Toast the panko mixture gently in an oven-proof, dry frying pan until golden. Set aside to cool. Save the pan to cook the chicken in.
  2. Add the flour to a flat pan (I use small baking sheets about 20cm x 30 cm).
  3. Prepare your breading station by combining the egg and mayo and whisking until smooth. Pour into a second flat pan.
  4. Pour the cooled panko mixture into a third flat pan.
  5. Prepare the chicken breast by placing it into a zip lock bag and pounding it until it is relatively even thickness. Remove it from the bag and slice a thin slice through the breast to create a pocket (I try to keep the opening as small as possible to avoid losing the filling during the baking process).
  6. Place the Serano ham into the pocket and spread out as evenly as you can. Fill the pocket with the cheese. Taking a thin metal skewer, “sew” the opening up so that it remains closed during the baking process.
  7. Place the chicken bundle into the first pan, and coat evenly with the flour.
  8. Transfer the bundle to the egg station and roll to coat evenly.
  9. Finally, roll the bundle in the flavoured panko and make sure that it is well coated. Return the bundle to the zip lock bag and fill it with the remaining panko mixture. From the outside of the bag, press the panko into the chicken bundle. Roll tightly and refrigerate until required.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Heat the oven-proof frying pan (previously used for the panko) with a little oil and fry 3 of the 4 sides of the chicken bundle until golden. When all three sides are golden, place the unfried part of the chicken bundle down onto the pan and place the pan in the oven and bake the chicken until the internal temperature is 165° F at its thickest part.
  11. When the chicken has reached the temperature, place the cooked chicken on a cutting board and cover for 10 minutes. Slice it in even slices and serve with your favourite veggies.

 

I served the chicken with cauliflower mash.

Notes:

  • I add the mayo into the egg because it really helps to crisp the breading, because it is baked and not fried.

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Prize Butter Tarts

This is the second year in a row that we have’t escaped to Arizona (you know why). But fortunately, November wasn’t too bad this year, meaning we had a lot of sunny days. I can definitely live with that. December has been quite the opposite, mostly we have grey, dull, dreary days. Some days with snow. These are the type of days you don’t even want to get out of bed. At least, I don’t.  But eventually, you have to shop for groceries and you drag yourself out of bed. 

On one such occasion, I found myself in the baked goods aisle at our local No Frills an aisle I do not frequent. I picked up a packet of ordinary grocery store butter tarts. Why? Why? It was the lack of sunlight, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I snapped out of it and decided to come home and bake a batch. This Five Roses recipe has been my goto recipe for 40 years. 

A delicious Canadian tradition.

Prize Butter Tarts

Original recipe is from page 135 of Five Roses, A Guide to Good Cooking, 25th Edition (Revised 1983), Published by Lake of the Wood Mills Ltd.

Makes 12 large butter tarts

Ingredients:

  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 100 mL melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30 mL milk
  • 15 mL vanilla
  • 50 g walnut pieces
  • 12 large tart pastry (muffin cup size)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment (in case the filling overflows).
  2. Add everything but the walnuts and the pastry to the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined.
  3. Fill each tart with a few of the walnut pieces and add about 15 mL of the tart filling to each tart pastry, filling only about 2/3 full (these will bubble up during baking quite a bit). Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.
  4. Allow to cool completely before serving.

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